James Rodríguez: ‘the referee didn’t help much’
FORTALEZA — Colombia was not helped by the decision-making of referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, tearful playmaker James Rodríguez said after its World Cup quarterfinal defeat by Brazil yesterday.
“I’m crying because we gave everything. Unfortunately, the referee didn’t help much. Brazil is a good team but we gave everything so we are calm. We wanted to carry on, but we hold our heads high. Thank you Colombia,” said Rodríguez, the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals. “We fulfilled all the dreams we had... It’s a shame we have to go.”
Many observers felt Rodríguez was not given sufficient protection after he was fouled repeatedly, and questioned the Spanish referee’s decision to brandish a yellow card, not a red, at Júlio César for the foul.
Veteran Colombia captain Mario Yepes also had a goal disallowed for offside in the 66th minute, and Rodríguez was shown a yellow card shortly afterwards.
Rodríguez, the poster boy of the World Cup who has eclipsed even home favourite Neymar, was inconsolable after the game. But once he had calmed down, he paid tribute to the support back home.
“Thank you Colombia, because you always had faith,” he said. “Unfortunately we stop here, but we wanted to carry on. We’re sad but we also have to feel proud because we left our skin out there.”
Colombia coach José Pekerman said he had tried to comfort his inspirational midfielder after the game.
“I tried to calm him down, because personally he deserves huge congratulations,” the Argentine told reporters. “He is to be commended, because... we enjoyed the way he plays and no doubt he will show it to us in the future.”
Herald staff with Reuters